Perilous Passages: The Book of Margery Kempe, 1534-1934 (The New Middle Ages)

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9781137277671: Perilous Passages: The Book of Margery Kempe, 1534-1934 (The New Middle Ages)
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On December 27, 1934, the American scholar Hope Emily Allen announced in The Times the reappearance of a late medieval manuscript called The Book of Margery Kempe. Perilous Passages: The Book of Margery Kempe, 1534-1934 explores the various paths by which this late medieval manuscript made its way out of a monastery in Yorkshire during Henry VIII's religious reformation to the home of a family of deep English and Catholic roots in the twentieth century. Julie A. Chappell reveals new evidence that implicates the Carthusians as conscious preservers of this manuscript between 1534 and 1537 and significantly furthers our understanding of the ways in which the unique autobiography of Margery Kempe, lay woman turned mystic and visionary, was interpreted. Most importantly, this fascinating study bridges the gaps in our understanding of the transmission of texts from the medieval past to the present.

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About the Author:

Julie A. Chappell is a Professor of English at Tarleton State University, USA. She is the editor and translator of The Prose Alexander of Robert Thornton: The Middle English Text with a Modern English Translation and is the co-editor of Transatlantic Literature in the Long Eighteenth Century.

Review:

"Chappell has written a concise and intellectually rewarding study of the manuscript, early printing, and reception history of The Book of Margery Kempe . . . this volume offers much new and worthwhile scholarly information. Summing Up: Highly Recommended." - CHOICE

"Julie Chappell has published scholarly texts, creative non-fiction, and poetry, and it is her ease in all three styles that makes Perilous Passages a pleasure to read. While thoroughly documenting each step of her research, she pays attention to pace and pauses for emphasis, summing up the pertinent details, inserting anecdotes about the more colorful characters whose lives were touched, sometimes unknowingly, by Margery Kempe's Book." - Medievally Speaking

"Chappell's Perilous Passages relates the complex, almost miraculous, survival of the single text of The Book of Margery Kempe to the story of Kempe's own life, the 'palimpsest' of her own spiritual awakening and the claiming of her spiritual voice. This carefully researched and intellectually imaginative book will be of interest to scholars of medieval Christianity in many fields, from material culture to women's studies, to theology." - E. Ann Matter, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor and Professor of Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania, USA

"Perilous Passages makes a fascinating and unique contribution to the study of Margery Kempe and her Book. Flawlessly researched, engagingly written and richly detailed, it carries readers on the many physical migrations of Kempe's manuscript through turbulent English Catholic history, while arguing that Kempe's purpose was to embody her own spiritual journey in textual form." - Amanda L. Capern, University of Hull, UK

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